It’s been nearly four months of grief and reflection for City College students and faculty since 19-year-old Diana Gonzalez was slain in a campus bathroom, presumably at the hands of her estranged husband, Armando Gabriel Perez.
Diana’s on-campus murder, arguably the most tragic event in the District’s history, rocked not only those attending City College but residents all over the city.
Many people, hearing of Gonzalez’s untimely death, found it hard to not feel sadness or anger over the senseless loss of a young mother who, through education, was trying to make better lives for herself and her family.
Students and faculty came together to work through the healing process, and also took the opportunity, through seminars and open forums, to talk about important issues like campus safety and domestic violence.
According to witnesses and reports, Perez – who remains at large – stalked and harassed Diana on campus where he had a documented history of domestic violence against her and his previous wife.
Steve Walker, a representative from the district attorney’s office, said the office continues “to work with law enforcement to bring Diana’s killer to justice.” Walker could not comment further because the office does not discuss details of ongoing investigations with the public.
Larissa Dorman, an adjunct professor and faculty advisor for Bringing Education and Activism Together (BEAT), said Gonzalez’s murder highlights the need for students to get to know and support each other.
“One of the greatest parts of the college experience is making new friends and becoming a part of the campus community,” Dorman said. “We are fortunate to have many diverse clubs on our campus, all doing incredible work.”
Campus groups like BEAT and Visionary Feminists have been instrumental in organizing fundraisers for the Gonzalez family. For instance, a Nov. 10 fundraiser at The Station in South Park raised nearly $1,700, which the Gonzalez family will use toward funeral expenses.
Beatriz Luna, Diana Gonzalez’s cousin, said the family is incredibly grateful for all the support, both financial and emotional. Luna said the family faces major challenges raising Diana’s infant daughter, Crystal. Recently, Diana’s mother, Concepcion, had to leave her job in order to care for the infant full-time.
Concepcion, along with Gonzalez’s father, Jose, are starting the process of legally adopting Crystal, a long, arduous, and expensive process that requires the services of lawyers.
Luna said the community support gives the family strength to go on. “Our family (feels) very blessed to witness so many people coming together with the desire to help,” she said.
Students can continue to help the Gonzalez family with financial obligations related to Diana’s death by attending the Vagina Monologues performances on Feb. 18 and 19 in City College’s Saville Theater. With the help of Bringing Education and Activism Together and Visionary Feminists, all proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Gonzalez family.